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  1. Philosophy of Science in Practice in Ecological Model Building.Luana Poliseli, Jeferson G. E. Coutinho, Blandina Viana, Federica Russo & Charbel N. El-Hani - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (4):0-0.
    This article addresses the contributions of the literature on the new mechanistic philosophy of science for the scientific practice of model building in ecology. This is reflected in a one-to-one interdisciplinary collaboration between an ecologist and a philosopher of science during science-in-the-making. We argue that the identification, reconstruction and understanding of mechanisms is context-sensitive, and for this case study mechanistic modeling did not present a normative role but a heuristic one. We expect our study to provides useful epistemic tools for (...)
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  • From Biological Determination to Entangled Causation.Davide Vecchi, Paul-Antoine Miquel & Isaac Hernández - 2019 - Acta Biotheoretica 67 (1):19-46.
    Biologists and philosophers often use the language of determination in order to describe the nature of developmental phenomena. Accounts in terms of determination have often been reductionist. One common idea is that DNA is supposed to play a special explanatory role in developmental explanations, namely, that DNA is a developmental determinant. In this article we try to make sense of determination claims in developmental biology. Adopting a manipulationist approach, we shall first argue that the notion of developmental determinant is causal. (...)
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  • In Defense of Levels: Layer Cakes and Guilt by Association.Daniel S. Brooks - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (3).
    Despite the ubiquity of “levels of organization” in the scientific literature, a nascent “levels skepticism” now claims that the concept of levels is an inherently flawed, misleading, or otherwise inadequate notion for understanding how life scientists produce knowledge about the natural world. However, levels skeptics rely on the maligned “layer-cake” account of levels stemming from Oppenheim and Putnam’s defense of the unity of science for their critical commentary. Recourse to layer-cake levels is understandable, as it is arguably the default conception (...)
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  • Cancer.Anya Plutynski - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Cancer—and scientific research on cancer—raises a variety of compelling philosophical questions. This entry will focus on four topics, which philosophers of science have begun to explore and debate. First, scientific classifications of cancer have as yet failed to yield a unified taxonomy. There is a diversity of classificatory schemes for cancer, and while some are hierarchical, others appear to be “cross-cutting,” or non-nested. This literature thus raises a variety of questions about the nature of the disease and disease classification. Second, (...)
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  • The Problem of Granularity for Scientific Explanation.David Kinney - 2019 - Dissertation, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
    This dissertation aims to determine the optimal level of granularity for the variables used in probabilistic causal models. These causal models are useful for generating explanations in a number of scientific contexts. In Chapter 1, I argue that there is rarely a unique level of granularity at which a given phenomenon can be causally explained, thereby rejecting various causal exclusion arguments. In Chapter 2, I consider several recent proposals for measuring the explanatory power of causal explanations, and show that these (...)
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  • Distinguishing Between Inter-Domain and Intra-Domain Emergence.María Ferreira Ruiz & Olimpia Lombardi - 2019 - Foundations of Science 24 (1):133-151.
    Currently, there are almost as many conceptions of emergence as authors who address the issue. Most literature on the matter focuses either on discussing, evaluating and comparing particular contributions or accounts of emergence, or on assessing a particular case study. Our aim in this paper is rather different. We here set out to introduce a distinction that has not been sufficiently taken into account in previous discussions on this topic: the distinction between inter-domain emergence—a relation between items belonging to different (...)
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  • Uncoupling Mereology and Supervenience: A Dual Framework for Emergence and Downward Causation.Marta Bertolaso - 2017 - Axiomathes 27 (6):705-720.
    The philosophical discussion of emergence is often focused on properties of ‘wholes’ that are evaluated as emergent with respect to the properties of ‘parts’. Downward causation is, consequently, evaluated as some kind of causal influence of whole properties over parts properties. Yet, several important cases in scientific practice seem to be pursuing hypotheses of parts properties emerging from wholes properties, inverting the instinctive association of emergence with wholes. Furthermore, some areas of reflection which are very important for emergence, e.g., the (...)
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  • High-Level Explanation and the Interventionist’s ‘Variables Problem’.L. R. Franklin-Hall - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (2):553-577.
    The interventionist account of causal explanation, in the version presented by Jim Woodward, has been recently claimed capable of buttressing the widely felt—though poorly understood—hunch that high-level, relatively abstract explanations, of the sort provided by sciences like biology, psychology and economics, are in some cases explanatorily optimal. It is the aim of this paper to show that this is mistaken. Due to a lack of effective constraints on the causal variables at the heart of the interventionist causal-explanatory scheme, as presently (...)
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  • Experiment, Downward Causation, and Interventionist Levels of Explanation.Veli-Pekka Parkkinen - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (3):245-261.
    This article considers interventionist arguments for downward causation and non-fundamental level causal explanation from the point of view of inferring causation from experiments. Several authors have utilised the interventionist theory of causal explanation to argue that the causal exclusion argument is moot and that higher-level as well as downward causation is real. I show that this argument can be made when levels are understood as levels of grain, leaving us with a choice between causal explanations pitched at different levels. Causal (...)
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  • Stability, Breadth and Guidance.Thomas Blanchard, Nadya Vasilyeva & Tania Lombrozo - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (9):2263-2283.
    Much recent work on explanation in the interventionist tradition emphasizes the explanatory value of stable causal generalizations—i.e., causal generalizations that remain true in a wide range of background circumstances. We argue that two separate explanatory virtues are lumped together under the heading of `stability’. We call these two virtues breadth and guidance respectively. In our view, these two virtues are importantly distinct, but this fact is neglected or at least under-appreciated in the literature on stability. We argue that an adequate (...)
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